Memorandum of the National Committee for Liberation. London, mid-1963

The NCL still remains a small elite group, distinguished by its technical competence and secure organisation, rather than by its size or effectiveness. In the existing situation, having failed to establish itself as the means of coordinating and federating all revolutionary activity, it is unlikely to grow to the extent where it can displace The Spear [Umkhonto] or Poqo from their positions as being the revolutionary arms of the ANC and PAC. It has however an undoubted initiative over the other organisations in the degree of its technical competence. At the moment it seems better organised in the Cape than in the Transvaal where its level of activity is very low.

The need for unity.

There is an overwhelming need for unity.

Outside South Africa. The parties here consist of the NCL's own committee. The ANC which seems to be in very good shape not only in Dar es Salaam but also in Algiers and London. It seems to have a certain amount of money. There seems to be a distinct difference in attitude to members of the NCL on the part of ANC members in Dar where several distinct suggestions of cooperation were made recently to your representative. In London there seems to be no such feeling. This may arise from the fact that all the White comrades seem to have congregated in London. The PAC by contrast is broke and badly split abroad. Molotsi and [R]adebe seem to be following Leballo while Mahomo is trying to build himself a new empire in the Congo. The latest information from Mahomo suggests that the PAC in Maseru has-fragmented and that Molefe-and-Leballo have fallen out. Our impression is that the PAC has become frankly opportunist and has little organisation worth having.

Inside South Africa. Here by common consent is where unity of command must first be established. There seem to be three other possible parties apart from NCL. These are Spear, Poqo, and Apdusa. From events known here and at home it seems that we might well be nearest to Apdusa in that [they] seem to have been crippled by recent arrests and Tabata seemed keen to cooperate-indeed this is the line that he has been selling [Tanganyikan foreign minister, Oscar] Kambona. However, if we cooperate first with Apdusa, this might alienate the ANC and this is an important consideration. Also Apdusa is very sectarian. ANC abroad seems keen to cooperate. It is difficult to assess to what degree they have been destroyed by the Rivonia arrests. If accounts of sticker campaigns in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town are correct, they would still seem to have personnel but they seem to lack materials and training. In this regard it is worth noting that they have in excess of 150 persons waiting the end of [the Central African] Federation with a view to returning to South Africa. All these have been trained but not to the satisfaction of Makiwane in that they have had a standard military course. We cannot comment on the PAC at home. They seem to have received their quietus. If we are not in touch with ANC at home, then contact can be proceeded with in Dar. The pulling power of the ANC outside South Africa must be appreciated-especially in relation to the committee of 9 [African Liberation Committee]. This is far less true of PAC.

Proposal: The proposal that is made to each of these organisations should clearly be a joint command. Each organisation should be asked to do what it can do best. It is to be hoped that in due course a complete blend will be achieved and a full unity of effort and purpose. There has obviously been for a long time an unexpressed reluctance to getting involved with the

Communist Party of SA. It should be recognised that whatever the facts of the situation, the Spear is a partnership between the ANC and CP and it is recognised as such by the ANC. Therefore unless it is suggested that an organisation should be created in opposition to Spear-which seems frankly impractical-NCL members should face the fact that the CP is to play a part. On analysis it seems that if unity is achieved this part will decrease with time. Our analysis in the early days of the movement included the assumption that most of the CP members with any ability would be knocked off by the government or exiled within a short while of sabotage commencing. This has proved to be true. Therefore while those fellows are still certainly part of the partnership abroad, they are not so at home-for obvious reasons- and they will soon be seen to have outlived their usefulness to the ANC here. In fact we are continually asked to do certain jobs for them here. This is curious in the light of the facts that there are folk like [Joe] Slovo and (Jack] Hodgson in London. We suggest therefore that now is the time to try and find unity with Spear at home and that the fear of an association with the CP should be diminished by the facts set out above. It should be the motto of the NCL "by our works ye shall know us" and deeds make friends quicker than words. Eric feels about the CP: They will continue their dominant position from overseas in same way as happened in Spain because they will be in position to control flow of money and supplies at later stage of struggle. Don't underestimate Joe and Co-even though they will be [weakened] in South Africa. Their dominant position abroad will be of maximum importance. This does not affect our possible working with Spear but our perspective must be clear on their future role.

Initially we suggest a liaison based on a practical project to be decided by you. We give as an e.g. 2 points 20 mile distant on a railway line. NCL and Spear to do one each at the same time. Only one member from each group to be in contact therefore maximum security. Ultimate joint command will have to flow from practical liaisons.

What can the NCL offer? We can offer a number of things that remain unsolved in spite of the fact that three years have gone by since Sharpeville. Looking at the strategic situation beyond South Africa for the moment it seems that the free world has provided for South Africa very few of the services it requires if the revolution is to proceed. Amongst these are proper training facilities, transport and supplies. The key to some of these problems might be provided by the independence of Zambia but not all will be solved or nearly as many believe. Transport. This is linked of course to the availability of supply but it is doubtful whether the independence of Zambia will ease the problem. The link between Zambia and Bechuanaland is through the point at Kazungula. Here at best Zambia has fifty yards of the river bank which will probably be policed. At worst none. What seems abundantly clear is whatever this situation might be, while it may be possible to pass men through this gap back into Bechuanaland for transport to SA (and even this might be difficult .-if proper controls are placed on the crossing by Bechuanaland), jt will be virtually impossible to use this route for materials. The question that is raised by these facts is whether, for the moment, materials can be transported into S. A. from the North. If money was available we suggest that the NCL should seriously consider the suggestion originally made that Torquil be used from the Cape to liaise with passing vessels, using Betty's Bay or a similar place for unloading. It is interesting to note that Torquil has aroused interest in Dares Salaam quarters for this very reason. Training. Northern Rhodesia is about to become the new training ground for SA. We should consider what part we can play in this. We have already translated certain works into Sotho. We have a lot of know-how. Will we want our own training place or can we in concert with others make a very material contribution to training facilities in Zambia. Materials. In spite of much talk about the availability of materials it seems clear that there is not much likelihood of these being provided by nations in the quantities that will be required.

We suggest therefore that the NCL looks upon itself as a sort of specialist cadre, which will set up the sinews of the struggle. That is the procurement of materials, their transport and training. We must continue with direct operations. We must try to participate in the field to an increasing extent. Should we liaise with groups with manpower, however, we should concentrate on maximum exploitation of our specific abilities.


Karis, T.G. & Gerhart, G.M. (1997 ). From Protest to Challenge: A Documentary history of African politics in South Africa, 1882-1990, Vol 5: Nadir and Resurgence, 1964-1979